The American Rescue Plan (ARP) provides $130 billion in federal funding directly to local governments. This unprecedented level of aid will help communities across the US shape their recovery from the COVID-19 recession. Local leaders should view the arrival of ARP funds as a critical opportunity to make investments that both encourage recovery and accelerate progress towards long-term goals. In the Southeast, the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 exacerbated structural inequalities. Our region’s local governments should direct their ARP funds towards strategic and sustainable recovery initiatives that benefit all community members.